Tennessee wide receiver Jauan Jennings will reportedly miss up to 12 weeks with a dislocated wrist. Jennings suffered the injury during the Vols double-overtime win versus Georgia Tech on Monday night. The junior wide receiver underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair his wrist. Against the Yellow Jackets, Jennings logged three catches for 17 yards before exiting the game.
When Jennings left the game on Monday, Tennessee fans held their breath in disbelief. At the time, the Vols did not have a single wide receiver on the roster who had scored a single touchdown in their career. Marquez Callaway came through for the Volunteer faithful, and changed the statistic very quickly. Callaway, the star of Monday’s big win over Georgia tech, caught two touchdowns in Jennings’ absence.
Many know Jennings as the player who caught the hail mary pass versus Georgia a season ago, but he is much more than that to this team. Jennings’ presence means so much to his teammates and the fans. Jennings is the player that talks on the field, but leaves his mouth shut off of it. Jennings shut down Jalen “Teez” Tabor a season ago, torching him for a 67-yard score in the fourth quarter for the go-ahead score. As a sophomore last season, Jennings recorded 40 catches for 580 yards and seven touchdowns.
The number one receiver spot seems to be under control, but after that, the position is up for grabs. Tennessee needs senior Josh Smith back as soon as it can. He is the only player on the roster besides Callaway with a receiving touchdown.
Josh Smith is more than just a statistic to the Volunteers. Smith is a Knoxville native and a veteran presence to the offense. He played a big part in the upset of the Gators a season ago, and he is a player the younger players can look to when adversity strikes. Smith has never been a highlight reel, but he can be a solid second option to Tennessee’s quarterback, Quinten Dormady, while Jennings is injured.
Sophomore Brandon Johnson was the third most productive wide receiver for the Volunteers on Monday, logging three catches for 14 yards. As Dormady gains more confidence, look for the targets and the yardage to go up. Until then, Tennessee will rely on a heavy dosage of John Kelly, Marquez Callaway and Ethan Wolf.